Posts Tagged ‘Rajesh Setty’

Roger-Step1-PlanAuthors must look beyond the obvious – -the trends and the hype – -when choosing the type of book publishing that’s best for them and their family. It’s easy to get seduced by the many recent, exciting, changes in book publishing technology.

Before rushing into a decision, I encourage you to make your choice from a detailed analysis of how each publishing option will impact you and your family both before and after your book is published.

Publishing options at a glance

The 3 primary publishing options include e-books, trade publishing, and self-publishing.

E-books

E-books span the gamut from word-processed documents distributed as Adobe Acrobat PDF files to professionally designed books optimized for on-screen reading, like Rajesh Setty’s Defiant. A new generation of e-book readers has received a great deal of attention, like the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook.

When analyzing the pros and cons of e-books, authors need to be careful to ask the right questions. The questions should not revolve around the current popularity of e-books and e-book readers- -i.e., whether or not e-books will replace printed books, etc.

Instead, authors must ask whether or not an e-book, by itself, will be enough to build the compelling, income-generating, personal brand they desire.

The big question is not whether or not e-books are popular, but whether or not they can position you as a subject area expert in your field

Trade publishing

Trade publishing, i.e., printed books published by large, specialized firms and distributed online and through “bricks and mortar” retail channels like Barnes & Noble, Borders, and regional independent bookstores offer authors a “no cost” way to get their book published.

Trade publishers front the money for all of the costs involved in editing, designing, formatting, printing, and distributing the book. In fact, traditionally, authors would receive often-significant advances on the future earnings of their books.

In exchange for freedom from up-front investment, however, authors must pass the gauntlets of rejection; publishers typically receive hundreds of books proposals for each book they publish. In addition, authors typically sacrifice a lot of control. It’s no longer “author and book,” but “author and committee”- -and the committee is a huge one.

Major decisions, like titles, book covers, size, pricing, and market positioning, are taken out of the author’s hands, and many surprises occur. (Many authors don’t even see their book’s front cover until it’s too late!)

Other compromises involve the amount of money authors receive from sales of their books, copyright issues that can limit back-end profit opportunities, and rights to future electronic products (like DVD’s). Most non-fiction books fail to earn royalties beyond the initial advance, although the occasional “home run” can create life-changing cash-flow.

Authors must ask themselves if the publisher’s credibility, expertise, and bookstore distribution are worth the lack of control and reduced earnings characteristic of trade publishing.

Self-publishing

Self-publishing continues to enjoy growing popularity. And, like “hybrid automobiles,” the term covers a broad range of options. Self-publishing ranges from an author taking responsibility for everything- – including editing, designing, printing, and distributing their book- -to options where outside firms will take as much responsibility for book production and distribution as desired.

Self-publishing offers control and speed: author’s call the shots and can get book into the hands of their clients and prospects faster than trade-publishing.

In addition, depending on how much money the author initially invests in their project, authors can far more profit per-copy than they would ever earn from trade publishing. This is especially true with direct online sales and from selling multiple copies of their books to businesses and associations.

Before choosing self-publishing, however, authors must determine whether or not they have the resources necessary to self-publish their book, and also make sure they want to spend their time performing the tasks necessary to distribute their book.

Authors have succeeded, and are succeeding, with each option. In addition, hybrid options are becoming available. What’s important, however, is What will work best for you?

How to choose the right publishing option

Ultimately, the choice for most authors boils down to just 2 issues: cash-flow and task preferences.  Cash-flow and how the author wants to spend their time after their book appears are the crucial issues.

Cash-flow

For many authors, the issue is cash-flow. Self-publishing initially involves negative cash flow, the money flows away from the author. The author is investing (or borrowing) money against future profits. Authors must put out money for editing, design, production, and proof-reading- -in addition to paying up front for printing and shipping.

If the money is there, i.e., if an author can more comfortably invest in their book without risking their financial security, self-publishing makes sense.

But, if the investment will seriously impact their family’s standard or living, or- -, even worse- -put it at risk, self-publishing doesn’t make sense.

The Preliminary Cash Flow Projection worksheet displays the implications of self-publishing versus trade publishing.

Task preferences

Successful self-publishing requires a different set of tasks than writing a book. It’s up to you whether or not the tasks are those you’d like to either commit to on a daily basis or delegate to others. These tasks involve:

  • Processing and fulfilling orders, packaging and addressing individual books, handling the occasional, inevitable, returns.
  • Shipping cartons of books to distributors and bookstores, handling returns of unsold books.
  • Monitoring inventory, deciding when to re-order books.
  • Legal and accounting; monitoring accounts receivable and tracking down overdue payments, dealing with copyright issues.
  • Negotiating terms with bookstores and distributors, including discounts and return privileges.


There’s nothing inherently wrong with these tasks, but authors must balance their writing and client-service time with the minutiae involved in bookstore distribution and fulfilling individual orders.


The Author Task Preference Worksheet helps you identify your “fit” with the tasks involved in self-publishing.

Conclusion

As the above questions show, choosing the right publishing alternative involves more than simply “going with the flow” or choosing the most popular alternative. The right choice of publishing alternative involves carefully balancing their goals and resources with the realities of each publishing option.

To help my clients, I’ve created several worksheets, like my Self-Publishing Expense Planner, shown above, to help authors realistically run the numbers and make the right decisions. (E-mail me if you’d like to see a sample.)

Portfolio Management – A Case Study

by Sanjai Marimadaiah on January 12, 2010

Portfolio management is a critical activity for any business leader, be it a General Manager or a Venture Capitalist.  This article offers a case study on portfolio management with a focus on value-net1 and the economic value of portfolio companies. The intent is to provide an analysis of the portfolio that can serve as the basis for growth strategy.

The Value-Net1:

The success of any business initiative depends on the value delivered to its customers. While immediate customers are important for near-term growth, the long-term viability of a company hinges on the value delivered to eventual customers, i.e. customer’s customer.  Hence a view of how you serve your eventual customers is important in portfolio management. Several business entities, called value-net1 partners, are involved in the process of delivering value to end customers.

The Portfolio:

Rajesh Setty is a successful CEO and now a venture capitalist with a growing portfolio of companies.

Following is a brief description of 3 of his portfolio companies:

An innovative approach to solving the content marketing challenges. Content such as white paper and ebooks are better managed to ensure that it is efficiently delivered to the target audience. Since the company is still in a stealth mode, a fictitious name, ContentKing, is used.

Jiffle brings efficiency and intelligence to event marketing activities.  It offers a simple and intuitive web portal for event managers to schedule and manage client engagements at events.  In addition, customers can generate various reports on the efficacy of their participation at various events by product line, region, etc.

iCharts business service allows one to easily build sophisticated, searchable online charts. iCharts makes it easy for customers, journalists and others to find, reuse and republish your data — helping proliferation of your data across the web.

Analysis of the above portfolio companies highlighted a common theme in their value proposition. There were opportunities for collaboration among portfolio companies and also opportunities to expand the value range of services.

A common theme among the 3 portfolio companies is that their immediate customers are demand generation teams.  Hence these 3 portfolio companies influence the adoption of product/service by the eventual customers. However they are at different stages of the AIDA – Marketing model5.

AIDA – Model 5:

There are 4 stages in the AIDA model – Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action.  A customer first has to be aware of the existence of the product then be interested in learning more about the product, then have the desire/need to buy the product and eventually be convinced that it is the right product in order to buy it. Support is added as the last stage by some marketing professionals. Different tools, tactics and activities are required to be effective at each of the stages.

The dynamics of each of the stages in the AIDA model are different. As you progress from Awareness to Action, the number leads decreases while the cost per lead increases. The following is an illustration of this dynamics. The numbers in figure 1 and 2 illustrate the relative scales. The actual value varies by product and industry.

Figure 1

Mapping the Portfolio on the AIDA Model:

The 3 portfolio companies are mapped on the AIDA model in figure 2. The immediate target customers are listed below the portfolio company. Finally, the Assets/Capabilities of the VC, Rajesh Setty, is also mapped to highlight the investor’s affinity to their domain expertise.

iCharts4 is at the cusp between Awareness and Interest. The interactive charts not only build awareness to a company’s offering but also generate interest in the offering by providing interactive charts that offer more details. ContentKing2 deals with whitepapers and eBooks, hence heavily in the interest phase. Jiffle3 is placed in the Decision stage but can play well into the action phase. The meetings at conferences and tradeshows influence the decision and at time deals are closed at these meetings.

Figure 2

The Conclusion:

The mapping in Figure 2 provides a bird’s eye view of the strategic position of the portfolio companies in the AIDA model. This can serve as the foundation to develop strategic growth initiatives for the individual companies as well as help VCs manage their portfolio companies.

Considering the price per lead at each stage of the AIDA model, one can get a sense of the valuation as well as revenue potential of the portfolio companies. The portfolio manger can evaluate collaboration opportunities among the portfolio companies and also opportunities to invest in new companies.

The individual portfolio companies can brainstorm whether it makes strategic sense to expand along the AIDA model. It also forces the portfolio companies to think beyond their immediate customers by engaging in initiatives and partnerships to help product/services companies in their pursuit to close sales.

Note:

  1. Value Net:
  2. ContentKing: http://www.rajeshsetty.com (watch the URL for announcements)
  3. Jiffle: http://www.jifflenow.com
  4. iCharts: http://www.ichartsbusiness.com
  5. AIDA Model:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AIDA_(marketing)

BLOGTASTIC: The secret recipe for blogging success

by Rajesh Setty on November 30, 2009

blogtastic_coverThis is part of the the book BLOGTASTIC! Growing and Making a Difference Through Blogging. You can read the table of contents and follow the book on this page:

ActiveGarage: BLOGTASTIC project

Previous article: Not everyone who should blog actually blogs

The secret recipe for blogging success

If you’ve taken steps to become a blogger, perhaps you want to achieve some mix of fame, fortune, and influence. If you ask each of the top 100 bloggers how they became successful, they’ll provide their own perspective.

Take a look at my hero Seth Godin’s blog and search on any topic related to marketing. You will get a bunch of highly valuable and relevant articles. Insights that you can use today.

Or take a look at Lifehacker, a website dedicated to helping people make the most out of everyday technology. If you use computers and you visit this blog once, you will be addicted to it.

In both of these examples, the authors recurrently provide relevant and remarkable content

I call it the Blogger’s Principle of 3Rs.

Recurrently provide Relevant and Remarkable content.

Winning in the long-term will never rely on one single idea or strategy. What works today may not be sufficient to win tomorrow. Since breathtaking change is the only constant, I can almost guarantee that today’s strategies will become out-of-date in a year.

Your key is to find out the right combination of ingredients (strategies, tactics, ideas etc.) that will give you the results you will need for success today. With some trial and error (and some good advice), you will be able to find a solution that works for you. However, this winning combination will change as the marketplace changes. No single strategy blogging will stand the test of time.


Blogging Tip: Relevancy changes with time. So get comfortable with change.

As an individual, you have limited influence on how the marketplace behaves. However, if you are very comfortable with change, you can adapt and deliver whatever the marketplace considers valuable today.

When you become comfortable with speed and change, you will have an unfair advantage over others. Most people resist change or wait for the right moment to take action.


This book and other blogging books may give you the tips and techniques you need to take your blog to the next level. However, you should always be careful when accepting advice. We will talk about how to make the most out of the help available out there.

Dirty Dozen #12 – Shortcut

by Rajesh Setty on October 26, 2009

dirty-dozen-shortcutThe earlier posts in this series are as follows:

  1. Dirty Dozen #1 – Luck
  2. Dirty Dozen #2 – Status Quo
  3. Dirty Dozen #3 – Complacency
  4. Dirty Dozen #4 – Mediocrity
  5. Dirty Dozen #5 – Indifference
  6. Dirty Dozen #6 – Impatience
  7. Dirty Dozen #7 – Common Sense
  8. Dirty Dozen #8 – Failure
  9. Dirty Dozen #9 – Expert
  10. Dirty Dozen #10 – Free Ride
  11. Dirty Dozen #11 – Shortcoming

Dictionary definition of Shortcut:
A shorter alternative route.

If there is an ultimate example of an irony, it’ll be called a “Shortcut.”

I have never seen a shortcut saving time or money in the long run. In fact, I think all shortcuts will take more time, energy and money in some way or the other.

The very reason you take a shortcut – to save something, you will lose more of it in the long run by taking a shortcut eliminating all the “perceived” advantages of the shortcut.

Let us actually make this more practical. You spend a significant amount of your life on your craft – you can call it job or profession or whatever you want to call it – I am referring to something that will give you money as a compensation.

Now, Do you want to get a premium for your work or will you settle for commodity wages?

It’s a rhetorical question. Of course you want to get a premium.

This is where the discussion about shortcuts gets interesting.

Shortcuts, by design, won’t give you a premium. They can’t. Let me explain. If anything is easy, there will be a LOT of people who will go after it – meaning an oversupply in the marketplace. When something is available in plenty, it can’t command a premium.

In summary, you can have it easy and get commoditized or you can take the long route and command a premium – the choice is yours.

Forget about taking shortcuts in life. They are too costly in the long run.

You can listen to the audio here:

Note:

Illustration by Ming. Ming is the creator of the Fantasy Story webcomic. He is also a freelance illustrator, designer, painting instructor and occasional luxury car salesman. Ming is based in Penang, Malaysia. You can find him on twitter @Artmaker

Dirty Dozen #11 – Shortcoming

by Rajesh Setty on October 23, 2009

dirty-dozen-shortcoming

The earlier posts in this series are as follows:

  1. Dirty Dozen #1 – Luck
  2. Dirty Dozen #2 – Status Quo
  3. Dirty Dozen #3 – Complacency
  4. Dirty Dozen #4 – Mediocrity
  5. Dirty Dozen #5 – Indifference
  6. Dirty Dozen #6 – Impatience
  7. Dirty Dozen #7 – Common Sense
  8. Dirty Dozen #8 – Failure
  9. Dirty Dozen #9 – Expert
  10. Dirty Dozen #10 – Free Ride

Dictionary definition:
A fault or failure to meet a certain standard, typically in a person’s character, a plan or a system.

Understanding shortcomings are important. But simply keep on focusing on your shortcomings and using these shortcomings, as excuses for not performing will be disastrous. You create accomplishments “in spite” of shortcomings.

Everyone has strengths and everyone has shortcomings. Winners operate most of the time in their area of strengths and losers raise their “shortcomings” flag to explain why they lost.

Think about it – very simply, focusing just on shortcomings will take away your focus on your strengths. You get optimum results by focusing on your strengths and compensating on your weaknesses (where applicable.)

If you have a shortcoming and that skill is a REQUIRED element in your recipe for success, try to see if you can partner with someone else to compensate for that shortcoming. If you cannot partner, check if you can pay and get that help. If you cannot find a partner and cannot compensate to get that right help to take care of it, then try re-visiting your goal.

In summary, winners don’t win because they don’t have any shortcomings. They do. They win despite having these shortcomings.

You know you are a winner so go ahead and start focusing on your strengths and in parallel work on getting help in the areas where you have shortcomings.

All the best!

You can listen to the audio here:

Note:

Illustration by Ming. Ming is the creator of the Fantasy Story webcomic. He is also a freelance illustrator, designer, painting instructor and occasional luxury car salesman. Ming is based in Penang, Malaysia. You can find him on twitter @Artmaker

Dirty Dozen #10 – Free Ride

by Rajesh Setty on October 22, 2009

dirty-dozen-freeride

The earlier posts in this series are as follows:

  1. Dirty Dozen #1 – Luck
  2. Dirty Dozen #2 – Status Quo
  3. Dirty Dozen #3 – Complacency
  4. Dirty Dozen #4 – Mediocrity
  5. Dirty Dozen #5 – Indifference
  6. Dirty Dozen #6 – Impatience
  7. Dirty Dozen #7 – Common Sense
  8. Dirty Dozen #8 – Failure
  9. Dirty Dozen #9 – Expert

Dictionary definition:
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People love a deal. Look at the number of “SALE” signs in any store that you pass by. There is some sale going on – all the time

Sometimes it’s an “Opening Sale” and sometimes it’s a “Closing Sale.” It can be a “Re-opening Sale” or a “Close-out sale”

On Fathers’ day, it’s a “Fathers Day Sale” and on Mothers’ Day, it’s a “Mothers Day Sale”

On 4th of July, it’s an “Independence Day Sale.”

There is some sale going on all the time.

You can come up with your own concoction for a kind of sale.

As you get used to getting a bargain, you can try and extend that to get a free ride every now and then. After some time it can become a habit – looking for a free ride everywhere.

If you think about it, free ride does not “add up” as someone has to pay that cost somewhere. Yes, someone may be sponsoring and covering the costs to gain your attention. Whatever be the mechanics and the reasons behind someone offering you something for free, the point to note here is that YOU are getting used to having a free ride.

When you want something for nothing, the equation doesn’t add up.

Free-rides are too good to be true and anything that is too good to be true is just that. It is not real.

Rather than looking for free rides, start looking to pay a premium for things that are valuable. You will see a lot more opportunities there.

You can listen to the audio here:

Note:

Illustration by Ming. Ming is the creator of the Fantasy Story webcomic. He is also a freelance illustrator, designer, painting instructor and occasional luxury car salesman. Ming is based in Penang, Malaysia. You can find him on twitter @Artmaker

Dirty Dozen #9 – Expert

by Rajesh Setty on October 21, 2009

Dictionary definition:
A person who has comprehensive or authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.

You would have heard someone say that “I am an expert” on one or more topics. You might have also said that you are an expert on one more topics. While it is good to be an expert on something, you might have some problems if you start believing it as if it’s 100% truth. The risk is that you stop all your investments to grow and learn on the same topic where you claimed your expertise.

In reality, the more you know about any topic, the more you realize that you don’t know much about it. In fact as noted author and Stanford Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer puts it nicely, “You need to be reasonably competent on a topic to know your level of incompetence on that topic.

Besides if you remember the “strengths theory,” you should really focus on strengthening your strengths rather than trying to fix your weaknesses.

Think about why you gained the so-called expertise on a particular topic. It is because you spent a lot of time working on that topic. You worked for a long time on that topic because you liked that topic. You liked the topic because that topic matched your interests.

See, there is already an incentive to be a “lifelong student” on the topic of your expertise. Go ahead and use that and strive to be the best in the area of your expertise.

Really, when you love what you are doing, it does not seem like work. Continuing to build on your area of expertise is just that – doing what you really love to do.

All the very best!

You can listen to the audio here:

Note:

Illustration by Ming. Ming is the creator of the Fantasy Story webcomic. He is also a freelance illustrator, designer, painting instructor and occasional luxury car salesman. Ming is based in Penang, Malaysia. You can find him on twitter @Artmaker

Dirty Dozen #8 – Failure

by Rajesh Setty on October 20, 2009

dirty-dozen-failureThe earlier posts in this series are as follows:

  1. Dirty Dozen #1 – Luck
  2. Dirty Dozen #2 – Status Quo
  3. Dirty Dozen #3 – Complacency
  4. Dirty Dozen #4 – Mediocrity
  5. Dirty Dozen #5 – Indifference
  6. Dirty Dozen #6 – Impatience
  7. Dirty Dozen #7 – Common Sense

Today’s word is “Failure.”

Dictionary definition:
Lack of success

Whatever you do, in that, you either succeed or you…. LEARN.

One again, you might have noticed it above – the keyword is NOT fail but Learn!!

Think about it. However smart you are – it’s hard to get 100% of your decisions right.

If you agree, the next question – “What percentage of your decisions can you expect to get it right?”

Just to keep things simple, let us say you get 50% of your decisions right. This means that the other 50% of your decisions will be wrong. That is pure statistics. So every time you end up in a situation in the other 50% (the wrong category) you end up putting the “failure” label and lose time worrying about it giving you less time to capitalize on the “right” decisions and grow. You are creating a huge opportunity cost for yourself.

As the old saying goes, “It is not about falling down but bouncing back every time you fall down that matters.”

Since you can’t be immune to failure, you might always learn from it. If you don’t you lose twice – once from the failure and once from not being able to learn the lesson that failure is trying to teach you.

Whether you accept it or not, failure is an integral part of the game of life. You can’t change it. However, if you do accept it, you have a new source of power as you can bounce back quicker from your failures. This will instantly provide you with some “extra time” focus and further increase the chances of success in the near future.

You can listen to the audio here:

Note:

Illustration by Ming. Ming is the creator of the Fantasy Story webcomic. He is also a freelance illustrator, designer, painting instructor and occasional luxury car salesman. Ming is based in Penang, Malaysia. You can find him on twitter @Artmaker

Dirty Dozen #7 – Common Sense

by Rajesh Setty on October 19, 2009

dirty-dozen-common-senseThe last word we covered was Impatience and today we will look at word #7 – Common Sense

Dictionary definition:
Good sense and sound judgment in practical matters.

No, I don’t have a problem with the dictionary definition of common sense. However, I cringe every time someone talks about something “uncommon” and says that it is “common sense.” The real “common sense” is table stakes and everybody is ought to have it. Nobody gets brownie points for that. What we need to aim for is “uncommon sense” that will set us apart in the marketplace.

Remember that common sense is relative. What is common sense for you may be rocket science for someone else.

Think about it.

Do you put your hand on fire? No, it’s common sense. When you were a baby it was not common sense.

Do you try to walk out the window in the balcony? No, it’s common sense. When you were a baby it was not common sense.

Do you wash your hands before eating food? Yes, because it’s common sense. When you were a kid you would wonder why we need all these restrictions.

You learn a lot of things as you grow based on who you are interacting with and what you are reading and learning.  When things become obvious and go into your background memory, it becomes common sense.

The point is that common sense is an entry ticket. You don’t want to aim to have common sense. It should be a given.

Then, what should you focus on getting?

Uncommon sense.

Uncommon sense is what will make you see the same things that others are seeing but have better and more powerful interpretations. You can see the same situation, read the same things, listen to the same ideas but make more out of them than others.

“Uncommon sense” is scarce and if it was not, it would not be uncommon.

Go for the Uncommon Sense and Thrive!

You can listen to the audio here:

Note:

Illustration by Ming. Ming is the creator of the Fantasy Story webcomic. He is also a freelance illustrator, designer, painting instructor and occasional luxury car salesman. Ming is based in Penang, Malaysia. You can find him on twitter @Artmaker

Dirty Dozen #6 – Impatience

by Rajesh Setty on October 16, 2009

dirty-dozen-impatienceThis is part of the “Dirty Dozen” series. In Part #5, we covered the word “Indifference.” Today we will cover the word “Impatience.”

Dictionary definition:
Restlessly eager

It is probably because of the speed of life, we have started equating “long term” to “slow.” Long term and slow are two entirely different things. Most things in nature happen over a long term ( examples: baby takes nine months to be born, a tree takes  a few years to bear fruit etc.) but that’s not slow. It’s just that some things take time.

When you read about someone’s accomplishment, typically details are missing – especially the details about all the effort that went in leading to this accomplishment. Movies and books make it look simple and say, “If they can do it, you can too.”

This leads to impatience. You want that accomplishment yesterday. In other words, you want the prize without paying the price. That just does not make sense.

I call this the fascination with Newton’s Third Law applied to the wrong place. Newton’s third law states that action and reaction are equal and opposite. That works great in your daily life. Simple things like you throw a ball at the wall and it will come back to you. You push someone and they will push you back – may be.

However, things will start getting messy when you start applying this to the wrong places. For example, building a personal brand may lead to a promotion. The action is building the personal brand and the reaction from the marketplace is the promotion. What is missing in the equation is the time lag. Action and reaction are equal and opposite but with a time lag. Forget the “time lag” part and you can get all confused.

In real life, you need to make investments in the right places first and also have the patience to wait for the results. You can, of course get lucky sometimes but that’s an exception – not the rule.

In summary – patience rules!!

You can listen to the audio here:

Note:

Illustration by Ming. Ming is the creator of the Fantasy Story webcomic. He is also a freelance illustrator, designer, painting instructor and occasional luxury car salesman. Ming is based in Penang, Malaysia. You can find him on twitter @Artmaker